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Minimally Invasive Surgery Viable for Herniated Discs

Microendoscopic diskectomy similar to standard microdiskectomy in terms of complications, recurrences

WEDNESDAY, April 26 (HealthDay News) -- Minimally invasive microendoscopic diskectomy (MED) is a safe and effective treatment for lumbar disc herniations, and has similar rates of complications and recurrences as the standard procedure, according to research presented this week at the annual conference of the American Association of Neurological Surgeons in San Francisco.

Kurt Eichholz, M.D., of the University of Iowa in Iowa City, and colleagues studied 114 lumbar radiculopathy patients who underwent MED between 2002 and 2005. On average, the operative time was 109 minutes, mean blood loss was 38 mL and the hospital stay was 10.2 hours. Patient follow-up was six to 35 months later.

Overall, intraoperative cerebrospinal fluid leaks occurred in 2.3 percent of patients and these were treated with bedrest. At follow-up, there were no pseudomeningocoeles. The recurrence rate of MED at the same level, same side was 3.4 percent, or three cases, but there were also three cases in which herniations occurred at the same level but on the opposite side.

"While recurrent lumbar disc herniations occur regardless of which approach is chosen (standard microdiskectomy versus MED), this data suggests that the recurrence rate for MED is no higher than that of standard microdiskectomy reported in the literature," the authors conclude. "In addition, the complication rate for MED is also similar to standard microdiskectomy."

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